My dad, he’s not an ordinary man. He’s one of the friendliest people I know, and will approach absolutely anyone to start up a conversation. Yet, at the same time, he somehow seems to be a quiet and reserved man. It sounds impossible, for a man to be social, yet reserved, but that’s the best way I can put my dad into words. There’s a gentleness that my father possesses, that I imagine he picked up somewhere from his love and respect for nature and having three daughters and no sons. I think it takes a special sort of man to raise only daughters, and my dad certainly figured it out. From teaching us the outdoor activities he loves so much, such as fishing, hiking, and hunting, to taking us to the father daughter dances at school when we were growing up, he always found a way to let us become the women that we truly were.
He travels for work now. It’s home two weeks, China two weeks, home two weeks, China, Indonesia, India, home, Singapore, home. But it always starts and ends with home. My dad’s heart is always at home. When he told me they offered him this job (a really good one that I can tell he loves) when I was just a toddler, but he turned it down, I teared up. I couldn’t imagine growing up with my dad’s time consumed by travel, missing all the moments I took for granted, and I was overcome with thankfulness that he found priority in family over work and money. I don’t think he knows how much that really means to me, but it was those small moments that he chose not to miss that really shaped me into the woman I am today: the encouragement he gave me in sports (even though I can’t kick a soccer ball to save my life!), the inspiration he gave me in my schooling, and the beauty he made me feel every single day.
Whenever I bake my dad’s the first in line to taste test. As in, he pokes around the kitchen when he notices a mixing bowl, stays near, and happens to be present when the oven door opens. I always have to remind him not to touch, but he does anyway. I think he always tastes a crumb before I give him an actual bite. But his persistence pays off, and he’s rewarded with his share. At this point he informs me with a grin, “this isn’t good at all,” followed by his sampling of another piece. I love those simple moments.
He loves pie. Pie isn’t something we have often, but if I had to pick a dessert to describe my dad it would be hot apple pie with ice cream on top. On the fourth of July this year, I remembered I had a tart shell in the freezer needing a filling soon. I was so happy that he was home for this holiday and we were having a nice meal as a family together, so I wanted to make it special for my dad. I used the apple pie inspiration to make an apple tart that we topped with homemade whipped cream. It was my dad, like a classic, inviting and ready to be your friend, yet with a bit quieter core than pie, gentle and handsome.
This tart had a flakey buttery tart shell from a recipe that made two when we needed only one. I used this piecrust recipe. Then I adapted this recipe slightly for the filling and apples, adding a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg under the filling and to the top to spice it up a bit.
saw: a spiral
heard: fireworks and laughter
tasted: warm and classic
felt: buttery and flakey
French Apple Tart
Any Tart Shell – I used this recipe
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
½ tsp almond extract
¾ cup almond flour
2 Tbsn all purpose flour
4 medium apples, sliced thin
1 Tbsn brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out tart shell and place inside a tart pan.
To make the filling, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the egg and egg yolk. Add almond extract, then almond flour gradually while mixing, just until incorporated.
Spread the frangipane into the shell. Fan the apples over the tart, overlapping working from the outside in. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, reduce to 350F and bake an additional 20 minutes, until apples are tender and tart is slightly browned.